Ice Sheet 200-900 Year Time Scale HANSEN

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Ice Sheet 200-900 Year Time Scale

by | July 27, 2015
Category: Blog

Ice Sheet 200-900 Year Time Scale

27 July 2015

James Hansen

Yikes! It has been pointed out to me that the specificity of 200-900 years in my post about ice sheet time scales has the potential to be very unfair to specific individuals. The example that was shown to me was a paper by Ian Joughin published in Science 16 May 2014 in which that range of time scales is mentioned. Joughin is a brilliant young scientist making major contributions to our understanding of ice sheets via numerous field investigations in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as via state-of-the-art modeling, a combination of skills that most of us can only dream of. The time scales that he obtains come out of the modeling, not from pressure to avoid the uncomfortable 100 year time scale that policymakers consider relevant.

I apologize to Joughin, his co-authors and any other scientists who may have a similar situation. It was my fault for not thinking through possible repercussions of my presentation. I should have stuck to discussion of the amplifying feedbacks that we identified and their potential to reduce the time scale for large sea level rise.

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